On Monday, March 5, the organization Invisible Children debuted its“Kony 2012” documentary on atrocities perpetrated by the African warlord, Joseph Kony, on his people. The video depicts a war-torn northern Uganda where children are abducted from their homes, forced into rebel militias, and even sometimes killed. While horrors are documented, Kony has not been seen in Uganda for the last six years.
In this exclusive interview; Oral Roberts University Student Sarah Mirembe, a native of southern Ugandan, gives an account of her nation’s history and current struggle.
Mirembe begins with the foundational fact that Uganda is divided into several tribes under a federal government. The Acholi Tribe located in the northern region of Uganda, twenty years ago felt marginalized and lacking strong representation within the federal government. This popular perspective grew after the overthrow of the Acholi president Tito Okello, in the 1980’s by the National Resistance Army (NRA), led by President Yoweri Museveni.
As mentioned in Kony 2012, Joseph Kony, a member of the Acholi Tribe, emerged as the head of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Kony claims to have been led by the Holy Spirit, in reclaiming the Acholi glory from the Museveni regime. This led to a civil war within the northern region of Uganda. In combating this insurgence, the Ugandan government, led by president Yoweri Museveni, initiated “Operation North.”
It was reported that this operation was unsuccessful, because Kony seemed better armed than the government forces. Some of Kony’s tribesmen were among the government forces sent to fight the rebels. Kony viewed the Acholi involvement as betrayal, which resulted in the retaliation upon his own people. Numerous atrocities were conducted by the LRA, among which were, abducting children, forcing the girls into sex-slavery and the boys into his militia.
In 2002, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), conducted a second military operation called “Operation Iron Fist,” and it was this operation that caused Kony to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Military conflicts ensued on the Uganda-Congolese, border, leading to an incident report to the U.N.
In 2006, the Ugandan government set up peace talks with Kony, in Juba, Sudan. Though Kony sent representatives, Kony never appeared, even with five attempts to finalize the peace agreement. Operation “Lightning Thunder,” was also undertaken by Uganda, Sudan, DRC, Central African Republic, and a US logistical team, but Kony managed to escape, and continue his operations in the DRC and Central African Republic.
Mirembe mentioned how she is grateful for the efforts of the Invisible Children organization which has transformed lives in Northern Uganda. The cause for justice is paramount, but she is concerned about the presentation of the information in the documentary. She said Kony has not been in Uganda for six years. Now northern Uganda is in a state of reconstruction and that people are finally returning to their homes after spending years in displaced persons camps.
She said she welcomes the effort to “bring a criminal to justice” wherever he may be, but strongly believes the Kony 2012 video is misleading. It does not reflect the current situation. She feels that clarity is always a necessity in any cause and wonders what political agenda in what nation is driving this issue at this time.
The Blaze reported Friday that “Kony 2012” filmmaker Jason Russell was detained by police in San Diego March 15 for lewd acts, including being drunk, nude and masturbating in public. Following the incident, Russell’s organization “Invisible Children” released a statement saying that “The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday.”
TMZ posted video Sunday of Russell’s nude tirade on a San Diego street corner in the middle of the day that shows an emotional breakdown at the least. Click here to read the story with video on The Blaze.
About the author: Kai Vincent Turley Good, a student at Oral Roberts University, moved from Maine to Oklahoma in 2009. Good has authored two books, Excellence Body, Mind, and Spirit and A Jewel of the Realm, and currently sits on the board of directors for the Foundation for the Preservation of American Values. As a member of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Good has taught self-defense at New Mission Self Defense, a studio he co-founded with his father in 2005. He hosts At Issue, a political television talk show for ORU, and when returning to Maine for visits, he frequently appears on radio programs for Fox News WLOB.